The Heart of the Campus scheme is a sensitive response to creating a modern teaching and learning environment in a conservation area. Working closely with the local conservation groups, planning and the university’s estates team, HLM developed a design that responded to the site’s many frontages, rationalised the complex site levels, simplified movement through the campus and created a literal and metaphorical Heart of the Campus.

Design Approach

The Heart of the Campus scheme offered a unique opportunity to create a student-centred space at the centre of the University campus that reflected Sheffield Hallam University’s ethos, enhanced teaching and learning and responded to the character of the conservation area. Working with stakeholders HLM sought to optimise all opportunities to enhance the student experience for the whole campus.

The brief was to create an outstanding building in terms of external presence and internal environment that was commercially green, balancing performance and sustainable design with constructional and operational costs. HLM’s response was a scheme based on passive design measures and dynamic thermal modelling to optimise building positioning, form and layout. The resultant building is separated into a series of pavilions connected by a central atrium and glazed links which allow views to listed villas beyond. Each of these pavilions uses a palette of materials appropriate to its scale, massing and setting, while all the blocks are united by the integration of public art that uses carving and printing onto the building fabric to reflect the site’s historical context.

Students and staff who use the building continue to give the estate team excellent feedback on the facilities, with 95% saying it had enhanced their student experience. It has become a vital hub within the campus that encourages staff, students and visitors to learn, collaborate and socialise and has received several design awards, including Best Student Experience and a RIBA Award.

"The environment and facilities in the heart of the campus make learning in campus a much better experience…Instead of old dark rooms I’ve got fresh, light teaching spaces, bright social study locations and brilliant specialist Psychology labs to inspire and enable me to learn. I love it"

Laura Wray, final year Psychology student

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